SPOT LIGHT

Vintage Vantage

Vintage Vantage

In 15 years Shantanu & Nikhil Mehra have made their label a heady mix of traditional ethos, modern thought and free-spiritedness to create a lasting charisma.

 

What has been the most challenging part of this 15-year-long journey?

S&N is celebrating its 15th year of being in the business of fashion. Even though our journey has been extremely enriching in terms of our brand extensions, collaborations and innovation, all of that wouldn’t have been possible, if we remotely shifted our focus from the brand’s main intent which is to contemporarise vintage India. This aesthetic of minimalistic Indian couture with an edge was challenging for a good part of our early years (2000-2009) since ceremonial dressing in India until recently, has always been synonymous with over-the-top embellishments.

What has been your brand’s ideology?

The seamless integration of Indian tradition and Western expression is now commonplace and without a doubt, we have played an important role in aggregating this transition into the brand. The age-old Indian culture has an undying character and spirit, but stagnation was harmful for its charisma, so we took a step forth, and thus was formed the brand’s philosophy, ‘progressive unification’. Culling the essence of Indian tradition and blending it carefully with fleeting modernity, evolving phenomenal design and free expression is not just our expertise, but our passion too.

How have accessories played a big role in your brand repertoire?

Right from the outset, when we started doing runway shows in 2001, accessories were always positioned mainly as fillers that were primarily doing the job of completing the collection from a storytelling perspective. We never thought of commercialising them, and marketing was geared more towards clothes. From 2013, our intentional shift towards more cocktail contemporary couture that further translated into a strong S&N handwriting of ball gowns and Indian wear for both men and women, prompted us to provide a complete solution to brides and grooms, who could now buy stylish footwear and clutches to match their outfits. Our accessories too, mainly footwear, falls into the bespoke culture of customisation, thereby making it more personal, just like our clothes. In the future, you will also see S&N fragrances being a strong part of our retail experience.

How have you been able to maintain a fine balance between commerce and art?

Theoretically speaking, our respective education backgrounds, me having done my MBA from Ohio State University and Nikhil’s Masters in fashion from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise, Los Angeles, gave us the confidence to nurture a brand that had the versatility to withstand the pressure of the ultra-dynamic fashion scenario in India. My understanding of

market dynamics and the ability to use marketing as an effective tool to support Nikhil’s design vision for the brand, is what has helped us position ourselves in the competition for contemporary fashion. Our motto that the product should always be at par, if not bigger than the brand, has urged us to keep pace with competition, if any and stood us in good stead.

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